Mel Fisher Days 2022 in Key West: Ways to Commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha
Mel Fisher Days returns to Key West Sept. 1 - 5, 2022, this time with a very special edition of its annual celebration. Five days of exciting events are on the schedule honoring the beloved Key West treasure hunter, plus it’s the 400th anniversary of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha’s final voyage.
Fisher passed away in Key West in 1998, leaving behind a legacy as one of the greatest treasure hunters of all time. After a 16-year search, Fisher’s biggest find was the partial remains of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha (“Our Lady of Atocha”), a heavily armed Spanish galleon named after the holiest of shrines in Madrid. Atocha left the Havana port of Cuba in 1622 for its return voyage to Spain and was destroyed by a hurricane in the Florida Straits, along with its crew, passengers, and newly acquired valuables. Riches acquired from South America and Mexico included silver bullion and coins, copper ingots, gold bars and discs, chests of indigo, bales of tobacco, bronze cannons, and silverware.
Since its discovery by Fisher in July 1985, the Atocha has been regarded as one of the most valuable shipwrecks ever unearthed, with nearly half a billion dollars in artifacts found. The stern castle (the captain’s cabin), said to have housed the most precious and valuable cargo, is still missing. Read more on Mel Fisher here.
Whether you’re visiting Key West to partake in the celebration of Mel Fisher and the 400th anniversary of Nuestra Señora de Atocha - or trying to find its long-lost stern castle yourself - here are a few ways to commemorate Mel Fisher Days 2022 in Key West.
Visit the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
Housed in the historic Key West Naval Storehouse on Green Street, the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society Museum is a great place to start. The nationally recognized research and archaeology institution has artifacts recovered from the deep, exhibitions on the maritime history of Florida and the Caribbean, and behind-the-scenes tours of their conservation lab. Open 7 days a week, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. 200 Greene St.
Attend the Mel Fisher Days 2022 Opening Ceremony at Tropic Cinema
Join Fisher’s children Kim Fisher and Taffi Fisher Abt for a special double feature at Tropic Cinema. Together, you’ll watch “Treasure Salvors of the Florida Keys” and “Adventures of a Lifetime,” the story of how Mel Fisher’s search for the Nuestra Señora de Atocha began and a tribute to the crews who helped in its discovery. RSVP for the free, public event in advance.
Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. at Tropic Cinema, 416 Eaton St.
Raise Money - and have a fun time doing so - at the Mel Fisher Days Charity Event at Schooner Wharf Bar
This isn’t your ordinary charity event - it’s a full blown party honoring the storied treasure hunter. Public events include onstage and online auctions, book signings, Key West and Mel Fisher history trivia, the presentation of the Mel Fisher Lifetime Achievement Award, happy hour deals, live music, and special ‘X’-marks-the-spot treasure cupcakes and a 50/50 raffle for a chance to win booty of your own. Monies raised benefit Wesley House Family Services and Michael Abt Jr. Have a Heart Foundation. Saturday, Sept. 3 at 4 p.m. at Schooner Wharf Bar, 202 William St.
Grab Tickets to the 400th Commemoration Speakers Symposium and Banquet
This one is for history buffs. Join eight academic speakers and the Fisher family for the 1622 Speakers Symposium. Fascinating aspects of the 1622 Spanish fleet will be discussed, from its history to its salvage, conservation, archaeology, and more. Following the Symposium, stick around for a banquet dinner on the beach. Tickets are required for each of the events. Register in advance. Sunday, Sept. 4, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Symposium; 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Banquet at Marriott Beachside Ballroom, 3841 N Roosevelt Blvd., just steps from The Gates Hotel.
Get Your Mel Fisher Book Autographed at a Book Signing
Join the Fisher family once again for a meet-and-greet with their favorite treasure hunting authors at select locations around the island. The authors will be rotating throughout the day and autographing their works at the Mel Fisher store on Duval Street. Authors include Wendy Tucker (Today’s the Day! The Mel Fisher Story), R. Duncan Mathewson, III Ph.D. (Treasure of the Atocha), Lee Fisher (For Love and Treasure), and so many more. Monday, Sep. 5, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at Mel Fisher’s Treasures, 613 Duval St.
Staying in Key West? The Gates Hotel Key West is recognized by Condé Nast as one of the best hotels in Florida. We’re located in New Town, adjacent to the 400th Commemoration Speakers Symposium and Banquet - and our Old Town Shuttle will drop you off right near the Mel Fisher Museum. Check out our Photo Gallery and see which of our special offers works for you.